Will India Blue skipper Suresh Raina be able to field his best team against India Red in Kanpur today?
On the eve of the Duleep Trophy match, India Blue skipper Suresh Raina was in the dark about the availability of a few players for his team's match against India Red at Green Park. "There are a few injuries and some players are on the way. Later in the evening we will have a team meeting after the practice session and things will become clear by then," Raina said yesterday when asked about the composition of the team.
With national selector Sarandeep Singh, coach of India Blue team and chief selector MSK Prasad here, there may be another rejig to forge a competitive India Blue side. Before the start of the opening game, Siddarth Kaul was shifted from India Green to India Red after a couple of players pulled out due to injuries.
Gohil replaces Gowtham
India Red, who beat India Green convincingly by 170 runs in Lucknow last week, also have their problems. Off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham, who had picked up five wickets in the first innings at Lucknow, is unwell and has been replaced by Mumbai left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil. Also missing from the squad are Abhinav Mukund and Ambati Rayudu, as they continue to have fitness issues that forced them to miss the opening match.
Mukund was replaced by young Mumbai opener Prithvi Shaw, but the talented opener did not get a chance in the previous match and he may finally get a look-in for this clash. On the eve of the match, neither the media manager of Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) nor any BCCI official were able to provide an updated 15-member squad of both teams as some of the replacement players were yet to reach the venue.
Things are going to be even difficult for the next match between India Red and Green and the final to follow in Lucknow as at least a dozen players from the Duleep Trophy squads will not be available as they will be busy with India 'A' matches against New Zealand 'A'.
India Red skipper Dinesh Karthik was not too perturbed by the non-availability of seasoned players. "Some players are injured while some others will be busy with 'A' matches. These vacancies open up opportunities for upcoming players and it will benefit them a great deal as they will get a big platform at a very early stage in their career. A tournament like this should be seen in that light," Karthik said.